As you look out your window after another long cold winter in Wisconsin you're probably wondering when you will see the first signs of spring right? The best cure for cabin fever is a spring bloom and a properly planted landscape should absolutely include some spring bloomers that let you know warm days are just around the corner. It's best to distribute these early bloomers into the design with shrubs, perennial borders and/or groupings, and a few trees in the mix.
Prunus Tomentosa, The Manchu Cherry is one of the earliest blooming prunus; flowering before the leaves are even starting to develop. Manchu Cherry is extremely hardy, drought tolerant and matures to around 6'. As a gift that keeps on giving, the berries are edible and the exfoliating bark adds winter interest. Lilac, Juneberry, and Redbud are excellent choices as well.
The Crabapples are probably the most common spring flowering trees. Similar to the Manchu Cherry, crabs typically begin to bloom before the leaves unfold. Blooms typically last several weeks. When choosing a crab, pay attention to resistance to diseases such as scab, mildew, and fire blight. Crab trees can be used for everything from screening to focal points as height ranges from 8' all the way up to 30'. Underplant with some late spring Anemone as a transition companion.
Cranesbill or other low border plantings to assist in hiding fading foliage. Woodland natives such as Trillium or Foam-flower are a great choice for naturalized areas.